The first step toward implementing effective server room and data center monitoring strategies is to procure the help of ITWatchDogs environmental monitoring devices, which allow administrators to keep an eye on remote conditions for various climate and power related metrics including temperature, humidity, airflow, water leakage, power failure, among other factors.
But what’s the next, and perhaps most important, step? Making sure not to overlook certain things when honing an environmental monitoring plan is critical.
One of the most common mistakes that a data center manager might make, for example, is being negligent when it comes to hot spots – which can be a major problem within a server room.
Too many administrators only think of the ambient room temperature in their server rooms; in fact, temperature can vary by 10 degrees or more at different points in a room, and variations of 20 degrees inside server cabinets are common. Heat often builds up behind certain areas in a server rack. Poor equipment layout can cause hot air from one unit to feed directly to the intake of another. Facility managers often overlook hot-spots when deploying environmental monitoring controls, which can lead to intermittent or permanent equipment failure. Thus, it is critical to position sensors in various locations – usually top, middle, and bottom – of a server rack and around any heavy-duty machinery.
Another common misstep is that data center managers oftentimes fail to monitor humidity as they are directing all their attention on temperature and not relative humidity.
Measuring data center humidity is crucial, as keeping it at the right level ensures that computer components won’t fail and that energy won’t be wasted. High humidity can cause condensation to form on electronic equipment, which can wreak havoc on machines and cause corrosion and failure. On the other hand, low relative humidity – less than 35 percent – can severely damage sensitive IT equipment because electrostatic discharge is likely to occur at such levels. ITWatchDogs environmental monitors allow users to set alarm thresholds on relative humidity values.
Just as relative humidity should be kept in check, environmental sensors should be put in place to keep tabs on additional threats to equipment such as water (plumbing problems, sprinkler malfunctions, weather conditions), unauthorized access (room entry, panel/server open, webcam), and power-related (black-out, brown-out, power surge, breaker trip).
Routine testing of sensors is essential. Certain sensors, like water detectors or smoke detectors, should be tested more regularly because unlike temperature or humidity, which can show revealing trends over time, water detectors and smoke detectors are likely to be an all-or-nothing event. Periodically dunking water sensors in a cup or blowing smoke at a smoke sensor will confirm the sensors are operational.
Issues can also arise when managers forget to review alarm settings. Specifically, alarms are often set and then forgotten about and, therefore, data center managers should make it a priority to check alarm thresholds for consistency and relevancy to ensure that alert recipients are still valid.
ITWatchDogs’ latest firmware release (v3.8.1) for Series II Goose devices now allows customers using the Remote Power Manager X2 (RPM X2) to automate outlet switching or rebooting on alarm in addition to being able to turn outlets on or off manually through the web interface.
The RPM X2 presents real time logging and graphing of voltage, amperage, real power, apparent power, power factor and kilowatt-hour to provide trend analysis and power metrics for future planning. The device enables users to set alarm thresholds for above mentioned measurements and remotely reboot locked systems or control system power via the secure user interface from anywhere in the world. The RPM X2 utilizes a digital sensor port on the Series II device to bring your power strips online.
Latest firmware updates for all ITWatchDogs environment monitors are available for download here.
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